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Ravens News 9/18: Supreme Efficiency and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

NFL Week 2 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 27, Cincinnati Bengals 24

Gordon McGuinness, PFF

Offensive spotlight: The story of the day was how the Ravens were more efficient than the Bengals, finding success in the passing game and on the ground, where Justice Hill, Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson all ran for 40-plus yards. Jackson went 24-of-33 for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt.

Burrow completed 27-of-41 passes, but they went for just 222 yards, giving him a 5.4 yards per attempt average. While he did find Tee Higgins in the end zone twice for touchdowns, he also threw an interception. Ja’Marr Chase was held to 31 yards on five receptions from seven targets.

Defensive spotlight: The Ravens made plays in the secondary in this one. Safety Geno Stone, who started in place of the injured Marcus Williams, intercepted Burrow, while Ronald Darby, Rock Ya-Sin and Ar’Darius Washington all recorded pass breakups.

For the Bengals, DJ Reader was a force up front, causing the interior of the Ravens offensive line plenty of problems. Akeem Davis-Gaither, Logan Wilson and Zach Carter all recorded tackles for loss.

Rookie spotlight: Zay Flowers was once again fed the football for the Ravens, seeing five targets and one rushing attempt. The run went for just six yards, but he turned the five targets into four receptions for 62 yards and showcased his ability to make plays downfield on a 52-yard reception.

Ravens instant analysis: What we learned from the 27-24 win over the Bengals

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

Exorcise time

The ghoulish sound you just heard coming from Cincinnati was the Ravens exorcizing a lot of demons.

Those fourth-quarter ghosts that haunted them last season? That ghastly playoff loss in Cincinnati eight months ago? Things of the past. The idea that the Bengals are the AFC North’s new monsters? Time to reconsider.

The Ravens didn’t have the secondary they’d assembled to stop passing offenses as potent as Cincinnati’s. Their offense was still finding its way as injuries to key players mounted. Their special teams were far from perfect.

And still they’ll go into Week 3 with a perfect record and a very good chance of a 4-0 start. Considering how bleak their injury report looks, and how tough Cincinnati seemed in the preseason, that’s a heck of a September.

2023 NFL season, Week 2: What We Learned from Sunday’s games

Nick Shook,

Todd Monken’s offense is starting to take shape. Because it wasn’t explosive statistically or visually, Baltimore’s Week 1 win was somewhat strange. That was not the case in Week 2. The strength of Baltimore’s offense under Monken might be versatility. Take the second half, for example. Odell Beckham Jr. exited due to injury, and instead of starting to slow down, Jackson simply leaned on the teammates available to him. Agholor made a semi-significant contribution, Flowers had another nice outing and Rashod Bateman got involved. Andrews made a big catch on second-and-23 to help Baltimore earn a first down on the next play during what was the most important scoring drive of the afternoon. Baltimore distributed carries almost evenly, with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill tallying 10 and 11, respectively, for a combined total of 103 yards. Add in Jackson’s 12 totes for 54 yards and you have a well-rounded, if not spectacular, offense. That’s winning football.

Next Gen stat of the game: Lamar Jackson was 13 of 19 for 123 yards and 2 TDs when targeting receivers aligned in the slot. His 19 attempts to receivers aligned in the slot is the second most in a game in Jackson’s career (20 in Week 2, 2019 vs. Cardinals).

NFL Week 2: Big questions, risers, fallers and takeaways

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

How are the Ravens overcoming injuries? Baltimore was without six injured starters, but it had a healthy Lamar Jackson. It was Jackson’s clutch play that led Baltimore to beat the Bengals on the road. In the second half, Jackson threw two touchdown passes on third down and then helped seal the victory with a 12-yard scramble on third down. The odds were certainly against the Ravens, who were without running back J.K. Dobbins, offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, center Tyler Linderbaum, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Marcus Williams. Then, Baltimore ruled out wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with an ankle injury. But Jackson was the difference-maker.

Stock up after the win: TE Mark Andrews. In his first game back after missing the opener with a quad injury, Andrews caught his first touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson since Week 6 of last season — a span of 12 games.

Stock down after the win: Punt coverage. The Ravens’ only touchdown allowed in the first half came on an 81-yard punt return, which was the first one given up by Baltimore since 2016.

NFL Week 2 Recap: What We Learned About Every Team, Game-By-Game

Matt Verderame, Sports Illustrated

Ravens 27, Bengals 24

What it means for Ravens: Lamar Jackson looked far more comfortable this weekend in Todd Monken’s offense. Even without star linemen Tyler Linderbaum and Ronnie Stanley, Jackson threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 57. He was the star Baltimore needed to notch a key divisional win over the struggling Bengals.

What it means for Bengals: The rushing defense is a major issue. Yes, the Ravens and Browns are maybe the two worst opponents to face in that regard, but Cincinnati has been gashed for a collective 384 yards on 77 carries (4.9 YPC). While Joe Burrow’s lackluster start is concerning, that’ll be corrected. The defense, right now, is the bigger long-term problem.

Week 3: Colts at Ravens, 1 p.m. ET Sept. 24; Rams at Bengals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Mon.)

Report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 27-24 win over Bengals

Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun


This was Lamar Jackson’s best game as a professional. He put passes in spots where only his receivers could make plays and was efficient inside the red zone. Not only did he show nice touch on several passes, but he was in command at the line of scrimmage. The back-shoulder 17-yard touchdown pass he threw to Nelson Agholor in the fourth quarter was excellent, but he also threw a nice ball on the 52-yard reception to Zay Flowers in the third. Jackson completed 24 of 33 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 12 times for 54 yards. Grade: A

Offensive line

Were the Ravens without two starters? Really? The Bengals got some pressure on Jackson, but he had plenty of time to throw, which was why he was so accurate. The Ravens were good inside with guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson, and both tackles — Patrick Mekari and Morgan Moses — did well pushing ends Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson past Jackson on his drop-backs. Grade: A